What does "probable cause to arrest" mean?
Probable cause exists if the facts known to the arresting officer would lead a person of ordinary care and prudence to believe and conscientiously entertain an honest and strong suspicion that the person is guilty of a crime. (People v. Guajardo (1994) 23 Cal.App.4th 1738, 1742.) In the vehicle context, a warrantless search is permissible where there is probable cause. (See People v. Strasburg (2007) 148 Cal.App.4th 1052, 1059.)
If an officer has probable cause to believe that an automobile contains contraband or evidence of a crime, he may perform a warrantless search of the vehicle for that contraband or evidence. (United States v. Ross (1982) 456 U.S. 798.) This exception applies so long as a vehicle is “capable” of being used for transportation, regardless of whether it happens to be parked at the time. (People v. Hochstraser (2009) 178 Ca.App.4th 883, 904.)